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Matthew Dean of biological sciences, (left), and Jim Dines searched through more than 10,000 boxes of unsorted cetacean bones in search of pelvic bones. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Whale Mating: In the Hips

September 10, 2014

Both whales and dolphins have pelvic (hip) bones, evolutionary remnants from when their ancestors walked on land more than 40 million years ago. Common wisdom has long held that those bones are simply vestigial, slowly…

Cavan Concannon explores how St. Paul appealed to early Christian communities in Corinth by reinforcing a shared ethnicity rather than a shared religion, the latter a more modern social category. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Rethinking Early Christianity

September 9, 2014

Cavan Concannon likens contributing to the massive scholarship on Paul the Apostle to finding a spot on a New York City subway at rush hour. “All you can do is elbow your way in,” said the assistant professor of…

University Professor Larry Swanson draws on 15 years of research for his new book, a comprehensive parts list that will aid researchers in their goal of mapping the human brain. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

A Lexicon of the Brain

September 2, 2014

In April 2013, University Professor Larry Swanson visited the White House in Washington, D.C., to hear President Barack Obama unveil his Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.…

Andrey Vilesov of chemistry and physics found that quantum vortices, or whirlpools, form in spinning helium nanodroplets in unprecedented quantities. Photo by Rico Mayro Tanyag.

Discovery in Helium Droplets

August 28, 2014

Liquid helium, when cooled down nearly to absolute zero, exhibits unusual properties that scientists have struggled to understand: it creeps up walls and flows freely through impossibly small channels, completely lacking…

“I have never been happier about being wrong,” said El-Naggar, corresponding author of a new study in the <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em> that shows the key feature in bacterial nanowires are not hair-like features, or pili. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Bacterial Nanowires Not Pili

August 20, 2014

For the past 10 years, scientists have been fascinated by a type of “electric bacteria” that shoots out long tendrils like electric wires, using them to power themselves and transfer electricity to a variety of…

A historian of international relations, Mary Elise Sarotte's research focuses on Untied States and European foreign policy in the 20th century, particularly during the Cold War. Photo courtesy of Mary Elise Sarotte.

From Berlin to Baghdad?

August 12, 2014

On the evening of Nov. 9, 1989, Americans were tuned to their televisions watching “NBC Nightly News” anchorman Tom Brokaw report from West Germany. It was a momentous occasion. The Berlin Wall, a 28-year symbol of…

A new book by Christelle Fischer-Bovet of classics, who has received two new fellowships for her research, sheds light on state formation in Hellenistic Egypt. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Exploring Hellenistic Egypt

August 12, 2014

After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C., Ptolemy I declared himself pharaoh of Egypt. Originally from Macedonia — what is now Greece — Ptolemy’s rise to power marked the beginning of the…

Opposition supporters shout in their stronghold of Tahrir Square in Egypt. Photo by Reuters.

War of Words in the Middle East

August 8, 2014

In 2011, the Arab world exploded. Protests rippled throughout the region’s most repressive states, in some cases overturning regimes that had stood intact for decades. Middle East scholars like Laurie Brand watched with…

In her new book, USC Dornsife’s Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo of sociology examines the symbiotic relationship between immigrants and California gardens. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Paradise Transplanted

July 31, 2014

Tomatoes, radishes, chilies and corn flourish alongside avocado, mango and papaya trees in an inner-city Los Angeles community garden. This is where some of the city’s most marginalized newcomers — poor,…

The Moor's Account author Laila Lalami, who earned her Ph.D. in linguistics from USC Dornsife in 1997, speaks Arabic, Spanish and French in addition to English. Her linguistics training informs her writing. “When you’re a writer everything you experience goes into your writing,” Lalami said. Photo courtesy of Laila Lalami.

Estebanico’s Turn to Speak

July 29, 2014

In 1527, Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez led 600 men across the Atlantic Ocean to what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States. Their goal was to claim land for the Spanish crown. From the get-go, the…